I was a bit disappointed to realise, on December 30th, that 2014 would pass without me finishing a single book. I picked up a copy of Steve Braunias’ election collection, Mad Men, but even its slender spine defied my belated efforts.
Likewise, I’d barely written a word all year. A few blog entries (I’ve never been prolific, for sure, but that’s a new low even for me), no magazine articles or columns or anything. For some reason, unable to read or write. Practically, if not literally, illiterate.
December 31st being a traditional time for setting unrealistic expectations for the year ahead, I resolved to do more of both these things. To write regularly, like I’m doing now, and to try and knock off a book each month or thereabouts. Though The Luminaries (still unread, on my bookshelf) might have to count as two or three of those.
What went wrong in 2014, I ask on your behalf, like so many annoying politicians setting up their own questions (“Could we be doing better? Of course. Are we working to improve the economy? Yes. What sorts of things are we doing?”). Yes what went wrong? Well nothing really. Our second child turned up in May, a little fella named Eddie who is an absolute joy, and what little time was left went to work, the rest of the family, and occasionally, sleep. Rather than reading, I’d drift off in front of a comedy show, laptop thudding to the ground more often than not. (Still works, other than the delete key. I've just learnt to never make mistakes…)
Last year I subscribed to the New Yorker too. I’d get guilty looking at the pile of unread issues, but tried to at least dedicate my weekly flights to Wellington for Back Benches to reading them – in the past I would’ve worked my way through a book, but I fucking love the New Yorker, and even if I only read 1 in 4 mags, the relatively cheap annual sub (about $120 I think?) is money well spent, and I couldn’t recommend it more.
I’d meant to write a number of times during the election campaign. But it was all so damned depressing – not the outcome per se, but the fact that most “normal” people I spoke to (ie those who don’t have Twitter accounts and get their news from the TV or an actual newspaper) weren’t particularly exercised by the Dirty Politics affair simply because they always thought politics and politicians were like that anyway. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, there’s a reason why MPs are down there with journalists among the least trusted professions, but working alongside so many back bench MPs, I think I’ve generally had a more optimistic view of the people I’ve gotten to know. I say “generally” – I mean there have been some completely c**ts too.
The other thing I’d meant to tell y’all is that my student media site, YOURS.net.nz, is launching a TV show, through TVNZ On Demand. It will feature the best content submitted to YOURS.net.nz, as well as content commissioned from young people around NZ, a magazine show mix of news, reviews, interviews, arts, music, entertainment, social issues and so forth. If you have young (13+) people in your house, let them know, and if they’re content creators, let me know! We kick off in March (thanks NZ On Air, as well as TVNZ for backing me).
If we do get off the ground on schedule, we’ll probably beat the new Paul Henry Breakfast TV and radio combo show being put together by Mediaworks – from what I understand it won’t see the light now until April or even later. I’ve got some thoughts on this show, but rather than use all my ammo in this first post, I might try and save it for a bit more detailed consideration in the coming weeks.
Don’t be surprised if comments aren’t enabled for my posts. While I think there are some really good discussions on PAS, there’s also been some shitty ones, ones that have put me off contributing here, and I know have seen others leave in the past. Just because we don’t call each other pinko commie twats like they do on other blogs, doesn’t mean it’s always a “safe space”, or even just a nice place to be. If you really wanna talk about something, I’m on Twitter @damianchristie
…Speaking of ‘safe space’, what’s crawled up Twitter’s arse and died in the past weeks? Arguments over God-knows-what (even by Twitter’s usual standards), people locking up, leaving… What I find weird is that people – and I’ve done it here myself – attribute it to Twitter somehow. Like it’s universal, when actually all of our accounts are a unique combination of people we’ve chosen to follow. And you only have to look at the trending hashtags to realise that most people aren’t arguing about safe spaces and mansplaining and privilege and marginalisation and so forth, they’re discussion how much they love One Direction and/or the cricket. So how did I end up in this humourless, needlessly argumentative chamber?
Sometimes I think Twitter would be better if you could just turn off the comments too.